I promise it's not going to be boring... or 1,000 in 10pt font single spaced.
My social experiment happened quiet by accident. Well we weren't at the grocery store by accident but what I noticed was.
For this experiment you need one out going and semi verbal toddler and a semi crowded store. For my experiment we used Sophie and a grocery store.
What you do is put the toddler in the cart and push them around the store as you do your shopping. Sounds like something you do often right?
Take notice, children like my daughter are the type who will say "hi" to every person that crosses into her path of vision. She says it loudly, clearly and usually with a wave of her hand. She will make eye contact and let you know she is speaking to you.
Now I'm the type of person who in the real world would rather no one notice me. I keep my head down and when people try to talk to me I usually end up mumbling and walking away. One of the rare times I will engage with someone is if it is a baby staring at me, I'll gladly smile and make a little face, or if it is a small child saying hi to me. I will always say "Hi" back, why wouldn't I?
That being said I can almost always tell you which of the people my daughter says hello to will respond. Older people, grandparent like, with a generally pleasant expression? 9/10 they will not only "Hi" my child back but they will also either speak directly to her ("How are you?") or to me ("Oh she's so cute").
The category that gets the least amounts of responses: men between twenties and their sixties. Even men who are there with their own children will usually not even look. What is with that? Do they think that if they respond I will automatically assume they're some dirty minded pedophile? Because I wont. I get that today society has a stigma about men and children, but my toddler is safely within the confines of my cart and has been trying to catch your attention the entire time I try to figure out the difference between the types of bread. Just say hi to her, please. After that she'll probably go on to the next person and leave you alone.
Women of the twenties to sixties age are a toss up. Some will smile and say hi back, others will ignore complete, and some will give the dirty look. I'm not entirely sure what's up with the dirty look. Did my kid break your zen shopping mood? Are you shocked I'm not admonishing her about stranger danger? Is the idea that she is definitely heard and not just seen drive you crazy?
Teenagers are an odd bunch. It's shocking that a lot of teenage boys will return the greeting. I'm pleased, don't get me wrong. But it brings to question when does the fear of being a pedophile enter into a man? At age 18 does your dad have a talk with you about how you'll be considered a creep if you do certain things? Teenage girls are a tossup between a smile and a "hi" or a hair flip.
Why can't everyone just say "hi"? You say more pointless things in your life and it literally takes up a fraction of a second. You can do it while still picking out your eggs, it wont prevent you from seeing cracks. I seems that very few people want to enjoy the general acceptance of a little girl (or boy) who has yet to form prejudices or opinions on what you wear or your make up.
In about 25 years will no one even bother anymore? Those men who are just now in the stage of being afraid to be called pedophiles, will they still be afraid? Or will age make them realize how sweet the innocence of a toddler really is, and that it doesn't hurt to just say a single word.
So I ask what do you do when that little social butterfly greets you?
And just for putting up with my rant
My little social butterfly